What a wonderfully funny man Mario Balotelli is. It’s cute that the Italian genuinely believes he will win the Ballon d’Or one day, despite his famously erratic performances at club level, although he also admits that he may be forced to kill Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if it is to happen. “I would have to kill them off first,” he told Calciomercato.
“If I think back on what I have achieved, it isn’t much I can do much more.” Well, that would be one way to eliminate the main competition. Although, if anything does happen to the world’s best two footballers, everyone will know that Balotelli had a motive, regardless of whether he actually followed through on the joke.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker admit he needs to do more, but it seems as if he is in the perfect place to finally develop as a footballer. Playing for Ligue 1 side Nice, Balotelli scored 15 goals in 23 league appearances, with three red cards and injury problems limiting his game time.
Despite his obvious development, Balotelli said he will not make any decisions regarding his future until he has had a chance to recover from this season’s exploits. “Now I’m going to pull the plug out for two weeks,” he added.
“I’m going to go on holiday and not think about anything. I won’t even watch the [Champions League] final. Then I will evaluate everything. One day I would like to end my career in my home city, but I’m still young.”
He’s a ‘good guy,’ says club president Jean-Pierre Rivère
Very recent, Mario Balotelli’s OGC Nice contract ends in June, but in a recent cryptic Instagram post, the Italian striker suggested he might be interested in extending his stay on the French Riviera. “Thank you people for all those emotions of this year,” posted Balotelli. “I hope we can be together again … future will tell.”
That post is a testament to the rehabilitation of his career over the last year in the south of France and also the Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivère’s decision to take a punt on the Italian striker. Rivère says the Italian striker’s troublesome reputation is a far cry from the “good guy” he has witnessed up close over the last year in the south of France.
“Mario Balotelli has a reputation which I believe is not in tune with who he really is,” Rivère told CNN Sport. “He perfectly integrated to the club. The Balotelli escapades, which everyone expected, especially the journalists, never happened here,” added Rivère. Balotelli was once one of Europe’s most sought after young strikers, plying his trade at Inter Milan, AC Milan, Manchester City and Liverpool.
But his propensity for hi-jinx coupled with high profile spats with a number of his former managers led many to conclude his off-field behavior was a headache they could do without. Mario Balotelli with Fanny Neguesha…